All of us, myself included, come into each season with preconceived notions about certain players, whether it’s on the positive side or the negative side. The question is how much of the season we need to see to leave those notions behind, and the answer is that it’s different for every player.
Take Coco Crisp, for example. I had Crisp ranked at #58 among dynasty league outfielders this off-season, and he was one of the most valuable players for fantasy in April. When I update my rankings (stay tuned for an announcement on this–and yes, I’m aware that I just teased a teaser), he might move up a few spots overall, but nothing drastic. In this case, it’s because Crisp wasn’t ranked higher due to his proclivity for injuries, and he’s on the DL again right now. As far as his performance, we know that he’s capable of performing like a stud in spurts–it’s already built into his value.
It’s when new information comes out that has to factor into a player’s valuation that the ranking moves in a significant fashion. And here are a couple of guys giving new reasons for their rankings to start changing.
I was as down as anyone on Gomez this off-season, and my reasoning was pretty simple–I thought the power was a fluke and that he would revert to being close to 2011 Carlos Gomez again. Meaning, I thought he’d be a sub-.250 hitter with speed and a little pop, along with the potential to play himself right out of a job. The latter part of that was essentially eradicated when the Brewers signed Gomez to a three-year extension in March. To be honest, if that had happened prior to my rankings, I’d have moved him up based on that alone. On top of that, fellow BP writer Mike Gianella was instrumental in pointing out some things about the sheer value that Gomez was producing that I was not fully considering. My thought process progressed to the point where I actually bought Carlos Gomez is my biggest home league for $20 the weekend prior to Opening Day. And boy am I glad I did.
Gomez has moved every needle in the right direction so far this season. My two biggest concerns about him were that his strikeout rate and power would not hold the levels he saw in 2012. Instead, he’s lowered his strikeout rate further (now below 20% for the first time in his career) and has put up a .273 ISO in his first 30 games. To put that into perspective, Miguel Cabrera had a .277 ISO in his Triple Crown winning 2012 season (and is at .243 for his career). And not only is he doing this, but he’s hitting .364 and has 7 steals. The batting average is crazy and unsustainable, but could he hit .270 the rest of the way? Sure he can, which could make him a legitimate top-30 fantasy player. I may have been dead wrong about Gomez back in January, but I am not going to be shy about changing my preconceived notions to match his development.
I will admit, I’m taking a little extra enjoyment out of Marte’s strong performance this year because he was one of the players I was consistently told I was overrating ever since my 2012 pre-season prospect rankings (where I had him 29th overall). This continued when I had him as a top-30 dynasty league outfielder coming into this season. While Marte the baseball player may have his flaws, the biggest of which is his lack of patience at the plate, he makes for a great fantasy outfielder, as he’s showing this season.
So with that said, what should we expect the “real” Marte to be going forward? He’s not going to hit 25+ homers this year, but he can clear 15 for the full season (including the five he’s already hit). He’s not going to steal 50+ bases, but unless his rate of success starts to look more like it did in the minors, he should be able to steal 20-25 more. The batting average is the biggest question, and makes the biggest difference as to whether he’s a top-30 OF or a top-15 one. His 2012 strikeout rate of over 27% was never truly indicative of his skill, but his 21% rate this year is. And he can maintain a high BABIP (think .330, not .400) because of his ability to barrel the ball pretty consistently and his batted ball profile.
- One of my favorite deep sleepers heading into the season, Patrick Corbin has been nothing short of excellent in his first six starts of 2013. The funny thing is xFIP says he’s been essentially the same guy as last year, he’s just giving up homers at nearly 1/3 of the clip. He won’t have a 1.80 ERA all year, but he could essentially replicate Wade Miley’s 2012 season.
- Christian Yelich continues to rake in Double-A, hitting .400 with three homers in his last 10 games. And the way the Marlins are apparently unafraid of service time considerations when promoting their prospects, I think we may see Yelich sooner rather than later.
- On the other hand, it may be a while before we see everyone’s favorite minor league speedster, Billy Hamilton. Despite the potential opportunities he’s had in front of him with the injuries to Ryan Ludwick and Chris Heisey, Hamilton’s .190/.254/.267 line doesn’t have the Reds clamoring for his services. Add to that the fact that he’s still learning a new position, and it makes you wonder if we’ll see him at all before September.
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